A stone panel with Shuchismati and Grihapati Northeast India, Pala period, 11th century
Lot 86
A black stone panel with Shuchismati and Grihapati Northeast India, Pala period, 11th century
Sold for US$ 12,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
A stone panel with Shuchismati and Grihapati Northeast India, Pala period, 11th century A stone panel with Shuchismati and Grihapati Northeast India, Pala period, 11th century
A black stone panel with Shuchismati and Grihapati
Northeast India, Pala period, 11th century
Beautifully and humorously carved with reclining Shuchismati receiving a foot rub from an attendant while baby Grihapati joyfully lies before her raising his right hand to her breast, she supports her head with her left hand and holds a lotus with her right, she a wears diaphanous dhoti with classic horizontal striations and a looping sash tied at the waist, her sacred thread rests against her right hip and graces across her sensuous stomach and the sash covering one of her full breasts; amongst her abundant jewelry, she wears neatly incised arm bands and a three-leaf tiara surmounting her endearing expression with full lips, round cheeks and almond-shaped eyes; flanking her rest are two diminutive goddesses standing on lotus blossoms; below her are supports, and a devotee making offerings of a fire altar full offering bowl; above are the Saivite emblems of Ganesha, Skanda and the lingam.
15 3/4 in. (39.7 cm) long

Footnotes

  • The image of the pampered, child-rearing goddess was popular in Bengal between the 10th and 12th centuries, where it was most likely commissioned and consulted by women wishing for progeny (see Pal, Indian Sculpture, Los Angeles, 1998, p. 93). The female figure at the bottom register sitting before a fire altar and offering bowl probably represents one such donor. Several similar examples can be seen in Indian museums (see Donaldson, Shiva-Parvati and Allied Images, New Delhi, 2007, C-24 & figs 91-2, and Lefèvre & Boussac, Chefs-d'oeuvre du delta du Gange, Paris, 2007, no. 99.) in addition to an example held in a private collection published in Kramrisch, Manifestations of Shiva, Philadelphia, 1981, no. 68.

    Although debated, the scene most plausibly depicts Schushismati and Grihapati. Expounded in the Skanda and Shiva puranas. Grihapati was a divinely precocious boy who was gifted to the childless Vishwaner and Schushismati and after the former made pilgrimage to a Shiva linga at Varanasi. By age 6 he could recite all sacred texts but by 9 a planetary alignment indicated he would soon die. He comforted his parents and set off to complete a penance to conquer death. Indra, acting as a rival to Shiva, tried to tempt Grihapati into asking for boons and then attacked him after the latter refused. Shiva intervened and rewarded Grihapati for his unwavering stoicism and loyalty by granting him immortally and electing him as the guardian of all directions.

    Provenance:
    Private Dutch Collection, early 1990s
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